Public Meeting: The Fitzrovia Business Improvement District (BID)

A meeting for residents and businesses to address the concerns that Camden Council have allowed a new commercial district to be created in the neighbourhood without any public consultation.

BID map
The Fitzrovia BID area.

Residents are concerned about the increased commericalisation of the neighbourhood and nuisance from extra evening and weekend activity.

Small businesses are worried that their rents will go up and the area will be favoured by more chain stores, cafes and restaurants.

Some large businesses say they didn’t vote for it and don’t want to pay thousands of pounds for services they don’t want.

Come along and find out what has happened and what can be done about it.

7pm Tuesday 25 September 2012 at Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Centre, 39 Tottenham  Street, London W1T 4RX

There is a useful criticism of BIDs and local democracy written by Anna Minton for the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveryors.

The following is an extract:

As in the US the larger BIDs have considerable urban planning
powers and match funding abilities. For example, the New West
End Company in Central London has drawn up a strategic
development framework and will receive £18 million over
three years from the Mayor’s office to fund improvements.
So far the jury is out as regards the weakening of local
democracy. ‘Will the public sector see it as a loosening
of democracy? Some local authorities will, some won’t.
Inevitably there will be some decisions made by this new
body which would historically have been made by others,’
a retailer predicted.

Another important difference with the UK response to BIDs
is that, while broadly supportive of the policy, the police are
not happy with the emphasis on private security, preferring
that their own Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs)
be used to police BID areas. BIDs on the other hand prefer
to employ private security, because it is cheaper and easier
to control and manage.

The other concern in the UK is that the BID model adopted
is too focussed on the trading environment and ‘footfall’ as a
result of the ODPM’s close collaboration with the Association
of Town Centre Managers in working up the policy.

For some critics, this model is too driven by a single-minded
desire to increase footfall and consumption, rather than the
broader list of priorities that should drive the creation of
successful, sustainable places.

‘BIDs come from town centre management and town centre
management comes from the drive to increase footfall. It’s
Bluewater and the out-of-town mall model influencing how
we look at all other retail and commercial space,’ said one
leading private sector developer. (Minton, 2006: 19)

The full report is available here.

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